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Mediobanca Swings to Quarterly Profit After Gain on Asset Sales

Mediobanca SpA, Italy’s biggest publicly-traded investment bank, swung to a profit in the fiscal third quarter as losses from equity holdings weren’t repeated and it booked a gain from asset sales.

Net income was 90.6 million euros ($125.8 million) in the three months to March 31, the Milan-based bank said in a statement today. Mediobanca had a net loss of 86.6 million euros a year earlier after accounting losses tied to stakes in Assicurazioni Generali SpA and RCS MediaGroup SpA. The shares rose as much as 3.4 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Alberto Nagel is selling stakes in non-strategic companies, including Atlantia SpA, to boost profit and capital, as he focuses on the firm’s main business. Mediobanca, one of the 15 lenders in the country being examined by the European Central Bank as part of an asset quality review and stress test this year, said it has sold assets for 800 million euros, about 50 percent of its 2016 target. It recorded gains of 68.8 million euros on the sales in the quarter.

“We expect the earnings momentum related to the capital market activity in Italy to remain a share price support factor over the next few quarters,” Matteo Ramenghi, an analyst at UBS AG in Milan, said in a report last week.

Mediobanca shares climbed after earnings were published, and were up 2.9 percent to 7.68 euros as of 4 p.m., giving the bank a market value of 6.6 billion euros.

Mediobanca’s revenue in the period rose 39 percent to 393.4 million euros on higher income from lending and equity holdings, which more than offset negative trading income and lower commissions. Fees, which declined 16 percent to 82.9 million euros, “don’t take into account yet the resumption in capital market activity, where Mediobanca has deals in pipeline worth about 28 billion euros to be executed in the coming quarters,” the company said.

Loan-loss provisions rose to 158.2 million euros in the quarter from 130.9 million euros a year earlier, the bank said.

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